Summary: What type of man makes a good elder/shepherd? This sermon begins to take a look at the Biblical teaching of Titus 1.
He was not an oil-on-canvas, not a die-cast martyr, a flannel graph figure, or a religious notion. He was man. He was God. And he still is, this Lamb of God.
God was pleased to focus all his Love, and all his Truth into this caller and leader of fishemen, and tax collectors and prostitutes, this friend of lepers, this rabbi who welcomed little children.
But he didn’t stay around long. His life was over when he was still a young man. His ministry lasted just months longer than I have been here at Monroe Christian Church.
And yet, what a priceless, eternal, treasure Jesus is. I say “is” because he still is, he always “was” and always “will be.” Peter and James and John, and the rest of the Apostle, not to mention Mary Magdalene and Janna, and the women who travelled with and ministered to Jesus, and Zaccheus and the demon possessed man: they all saw Jesus in the flesh.
Daily these men and women were taught God’s truth by the one who is God’s truth. It took them a while to understand who he really was, and it wasn’t even really until his resurrection when he spent 40 days with them teaching them many things that his truth finally began to sink in.
But even after he went to the Father, he left them with an indispensible, indescribable Gift who would guide them into all Truth. The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does many things, but one of his key roles was to ensure that the truth of God, even the Good News, would be faithfully passed on for generations, until Jesus’ return, so that we could know Him and not be deceived. In His wisdom, God endowed upon the apostles the foundational role of teaching Jesus’ followers, the church, God’s truth.
One of the apostles main functions was the “ministry of the Word.” This meant they were given the weighty responsibility for faithfully proclaiming and transmitting the truth of God, the teaching about Jesus. As eyewitnesses of Jesus, they proclaimed what they had seen and heard through the power and knowledge given by the Holy Spirit.
Now, the last I checked, two thousand years, maybe, 10,000 generations, 104,000 Sundays, roughly 2,190,000 meal times, and billions and billions of McDonald’s hamburgers separate you and I from the ministries of these eye-witnesses, these apostles of Jesus, these faithful proclaimers of the word.
That is a lot of time and space. How can we trust that what we hear today is what was taught back then? Because I don’t want to be led astray. I don’t want to miss out on the treasure of living with our Lord for eternity. I want to know the truth. I want to pass on the truth so that others, like me, can experience the saving grace of Jesus daily enjoying his blessings even as they take up their crosses to serve and glorify Him.
What an amazing and perplexing responsibility the Lord has placed on people to take care of his Truth.
People are fickle! People have hidden agendas! Some people have low IQ’s! Some are too smart for their own good! Some are selfish, preoccupied, uncaring, greedy, self-serving, soft, too busy, why some . . . are even Ohio State supporters!